|"Faith, hope and ...?"|
At any rate, there you are, and thank goodness you decided to go for the full Reads-Sartre-in-a-Hipster-Café look unlike the actual Sartre expert by the fridge who looks incredibly dumpy in her lycra mini skirt. In the right light, you might actually look a little bit like Audrey Hepburn. So that's something.
But what is this? A young man with dark curly hair has turned to you and said, "So what do you think of Deleuze?"
You: I don't think anything of Deleuze. I'm more of a Polish cinema gal. (Seriously hope Deleuze did not write about Polish cinema.*)
Young man: Oh, are you Polish?
You: No. Are you French?
Young man: Point taken. So are you into Polanski or what?
You: Well, it's probably controversial to say so, but I don't consider Polanski's later work Polish cinema, you know? I mean, he's very American.
American Republican-voting Department Outlier in blazer and tie: So what's wrong with that?
Young man: Um, excuse me, we are taking about Cinema. So what would be a good film for a neophyte to see? (To Department Outlier) That means a beginner.
Outlier: Eff you, Gutenheimer, I know what a neophyte is. (Stomps off to the kitchen.)
You: I highly recommend Niewinni Czarodzieje.
Gutenheimer: Nee-eh-veennee charo-whatsit?
You: Cha-rod-jay-eh. Otherwise known as Innocent Sorcerers. It has an amazing late-50s cool. Actually, it may have invented late-50s cool. It has a fantastic jazz soundtrack and amazing visuals. The clothes are great; I wish guys still dressed like that. And there are all kinds of self-referential jokes that actually seem fresh and new, which they probably were in 1959.
Gutenheimer: Sounds good. Like what?
You: Well, it begins with a young woman in a Dior New Look-style skirt and a picture hat walking along a Warsaw street, past a whole bunch of billboards advertising the film Niewinni Czarodzieje. And later a character turns on a radio, and a presenter announces that the next piece is from the film Niewinni Czarodzieje. Later a drunk guy on a spree with his friends starts philosophizing that they are the niewinni czarodzieje It works. It's a film that doesn't take itself too seriously, you know? Which is pretty awesome for a country just three years out of the Stalinist terror.
Gutenheiemer: Fresh air, new freedom?
You: It definitely gives that impression although both the Catholic Church in Poland and the Communist Party threw fits over its supposed cynicism and frivolity. I like how the composer--Krzystof Komeda--basically just plays himself in the film. He's in the protagonist's band. Like Komeda in real life, the hero Bazyli is a doctor by day--he works at a boxing gym--and a jazz man by night. Well, Bazyli so-called. I think it's just a fake name he gives to pick-ups.
Gutenheimer: There are pick-ups?
You: Yeah, that's another reason why the Church and the Commies were upset. It's a bit bizarre. The film is full of girls in 1950s clothes acting more like it's the 1960s and then crying, etc.
Gutenheimer: Maybe the 1950s were more like the 1960s than we think.
You: Probably. The 1960s didn't come out of nowhere. Look at the beatniks. Personally I blame the professors more than the students, you know?
Gutenheimer: What you you mean, blame? The Sixties were fabulous! Free love, no AIDS, cheap grass, Greenwich Village, the White Album, Rochdale College...
You: Er. Um. (Think really hard) ... Domestic terrorism, total sexual exploitation of women ...
Gutenheimer (trumped by feminism): Well, I grant you.
You: Which is another cool thing about Innocent Sorcerers. The drama of the story comes from a war of wits between Bazyli and Pelagia, a girl he tries to pick up for his friend Edmund. Pelagia first appears to be an affronted Catholic girl, and then a good-time girl l like Bazyli's usual conquests, but it begins to look like she's something else entirely. In fact, for a film that is supposed to be so cynical, it does suggest that there can be a cure for the biggest problem of youth.
Your Crush Object (having arrived and has been standing, unnoticed, beside you ): Unemployment?
You (blushing faintly and trying not to smile too widely): No. Boredom.
Curious point: The young, not yet messed up, Roman Polanski is an actor in this film.
Catholic culture score: Komeda remembers catechetical basics.
*Answer: Glancingly. Deleuze mentioned just one film: Bilans kwartalny by Zanussi. You're safe.